Diversity at Design

Our Commitment to Diversity

The Stuart Weitzman School of Design is committed to creating an educational setting in which all students, faculty members, and staff members are valued.

We strive to create an inclusive culture that celebrates difference and is strengthened by contributions from people of all races, religions, countries of origin, genders, ages, sexual orientations, physical abilities, learning differences, and socioeconomic backgrounds. 

We aspire to support and retain a student body, faculty and staff who are representative of the multiple communities and publics with which we collaborate and work. 

A diverse community here enhances our ability to prepare the next generation of artists, architects, landscape architects, planners, and preservationists to become leaders and innovators in a multicultural society.

Diversity Committee

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek.” –President Barack Obama

Shortly after his appointment in the summer of 2016, Dean Steiner formed a Faculty Diversity Work Group (DWG) to advise him on strategies to (1) increase the diversity of the School’s faculty, staff, and student body; (2) promote a more inclusive community; (3) and foster a learning environment that encourages and celebrates difference. The DWG invited staff and student representatives to join the group and met monthly throughout the 2016-17 academic year. Chaired by Sharon Hayes, associate professor of fine arts, the Work Group includes  faculty members, staff members, and student representatives from across the School. The DWG served as a productive forum for conversations. This group led a Diversity town hall for students in the spring and coordinated a school-wide, engaging faculty discussion on inclusive teaching practices for our studio and classroom environments. In June 2017, the DWG presented the Dean with a detailed report on recommendations for continuing these efforts. In September 2017 the Dean convened a formal Diversity Committee with faculty, staff, and student representation to carry forth recommendations. Activities included:a school-wide faculty discussion regarding resources for diversity within course content, a student diversity town hall, an event for students highlighting studio and elective offerings addressing specific topics of diversity, a PennDesign conversation about LGBQT gender-inclusivity in the academic environment, and a workshop for search committee members regarding implicit bias. In October 2017, Associate Director for Faculty Affairs, Karyn Tufarolo, was named the PennDesign Diversity Coordinator. This new position helps implement the recommendations of the school’s Diversity Committee, organize events, coordinate trainings and discussions on diversity-related issues, update the diversity section of the school’s website, and track and report PennDesign’s progress toward goals outlined in the school’s Faculty Diversity Plan.


Inclusion in Design

Inclusion in Design is a student-led group that seeks to foster an environment in which students of color, marginalized identities, and allies can thrive. (Marginalized identities include: racial, ethnic, sexual minorities, disabled students, international students etc.) They have organized lunchtime presenters, town halls, a student PechaKucha event, and are working on ways to build connection across the Weitzman design community. Please e-mail inclusionindesign@gmail.com for any inquiries. 

Design in Latin America

Design in Laitn America is a student-led group created to share the vibrant, diverse, and singular Latin American cultures with students, faculty members, staff, and the general community at PennDesign. their misson is to address Latin American topics to foster a reciprocal cultural exchange within PennDesign, and with other Latin American organizations, on campus and beyond; particularly with students, scholars, researchers, and professionals whose work is informed by, and/or contribute to understand, appreciate and enhance Latin American diversity and address the region’s pending challenges. "The term 'Latin America' was created in early-nineteenth-century France to advance a collective 'Latin' identity rooted in culture, and ever since, it has been enriched, reinforced, questioned, and challenged by theoretical and practical assemblies that emphasize cultural, political, historical, and economic aspects of the region," - Patricio del Real

Women in Architecture

Since the fall of 2016, PennDesign's Women in Architecture group has been actively examining this historically male dominated profession while providing networking and mentorship opportunities to members. The goal is to mobilize a community of designers and thinkers with the purpose of increasing the incidence and visibility of women in architecture. Their hope is to bring awareness to the gender disparity that exists in the profession and empower each other by fostering growth, promoting success, and above all, cultivating the next generation of female leaders in the profession.

Women in Architecture hosted their first symposium on Women in Architecture, [RE]FORM: The Framework, Fallout & Future of Women in Design, in spring of 2017, as well as several other networking and social events. The next year, they presented a symposium titled [RE]ACTION: Empowering the Future Leaders in Design. Organized by students, this full day workshop featured opportunities for attendees to develop skills to take charge of their careers. Topics included negotiating offers, networking for impact, knowing your rights, navigating construction sites, and vocal empowerment - as well as a panel discussion about navigating architecture and entrepreneurship.   


QueerDesign is a student-run group at PennDesign, created to build a community of LGBTQ+ designers to support a space of exchange and judgment free collaboration. Aiming to foster discussions about the meaning of diversity and its intersection with design at Penn and beyond, QueerDesign hopes to connect to existing networks of students and professionals. In addition, the organization explores a number of facets of queer culture and history, specifically within the realm of design. At Penn, QueerDesign partners with other groups on campus to curate a variety of social, educational, and professional events.


Urban China Collective

Established in October 2017, the Urban China Collective (UCC) is a student-run group which serves as a platform to foster understanding of China’s urban development through lectures and workshops at Penn. They seek to strengthen the network of scholars, practitioners, and students devoted to studying China’s urbanization across disciplines and institutions both within Penn community and beyond. 

Events 2018-2019

Below are some of the PennDesign events in 208-2019 which promote discussions relating to equality, social justice, and diversity in many forms within our disciplines.

Additions to this list should be sent to the PennDesign Diversity Coordinator at tufarolo@design.upenn.edu.

Spring 2019

Building Resilience in Design (Tuesday January 22, 2019)
Explore how resilience can be best taught in the design school, and how design can have agency in building more resilient communities, cities, and regions. Bringing together leading practitioners and academics to present resilience projects and initiatives they are pursuing. These presentations will occur in the three roundtable conversations in which the following questions will be explored: How can design have agency in dealing with uncertainty and risk, while helping to build resilience? What tools and collaborations do designers need to advance our skills? And how can the design school educate the next generation to deal with climate change and other, often related, 21st century challenges?

Manon Otto: Landscape Architecture for Architects - Understanding the Benefits and Challenges of Integrated Multidisciplinarity (Thursday, January 24, 2019) 

Yue Zhang: Villages in the City - China's Dual-track Urbanization and Implications for Urban Planning (Monday January 28, 2019)
China has experienced rapid urbanization along with extraordinary economic growth in the last four decades.Twenty of the world’s 100 largest cities are in China. How has China achieved an urbanization of such unprecedented pace and scale? In this talk, Professor Yue Zhang argues that China’s urbanization is driven by two tracks that are rooted in the country’s unique land regime.While China’s dual-track urbanization has generated visible economic and political benefits, it remains challenged by issues of sustainability and inclusiveness. As an effort to integrate the two tracks, the recent projects of urban redevelopment have increased spatial and social inequalities in China. 

Town Hall for PennDesign Students of Color (January 31, 2019)
PennDesign's Inclusion in Design student group hosts an informal lunch discussion and town hall with members of the PennDesign community.

Sachs Visiting Professor Lecture: Ralph Lemon (February 7, 2019) 
Ralph Lemon, a 2015 National Medal of Arts winner, is the PennDesign a Keith L. and Katherine S. Sachs Visiting Professor in the Department of Fine Arts for 2018 - 2019. He is a director, dancer, choreographer, writer, visual artist, and curator. He is working with PennDesign MFA students in creating a group dance-oriented production with accompanying scenography that develops from his celebrated Geography Trilogy and his book Geography: Art, Race, Exile

Marcy Rockman: Social Ecosystems, Policy Interface, and other Unexpected Contributions of Cultural Heritage for the Challenges of Climate Change (Tuesday, February 26, 2019)
Archaeology and cultural heritage broadly generally aren’t the first things most people think of when describing the challenges of and potential solutions for modern anthropogenic climate change. But in fact they have a great deal to offer. For seven years, 2011-2018, Dr. Marcy Rockman served as Climate Change Adaptation Coordinator for Cultural Resources with the U.S. National Park Service.  This role required figuring out what climate change means for all of the cultural heritage (sites, historic buildings, landscapes, traditional and indigenous knowledge and practices, and museum collections) of the country and what to do about it. In this talk, Dr. Rockman shares what she wanted to build in this role, what she was able to build, and what is next for efforts to use the past to help respond to our climate changed future.

Susannah C. Drake: Regenerative Urbanism - Activating Latent Infrastructure in the Post Industrial City (February 21, 2019) 
Susannah C. Drake is the founding principal of DLANDstudio Architecture + Landscape Architecture pllc. The firm has received city, state, and national AIA and ASLA awards. Susannah was awarded the AIA Young Architects Award, Fellowship in the ASLA, and was recognized as an Architectural League Emerging Voice.Susannah specializes in complex projects that require a synthesized, analytical, and research-based approach. Her research has been at the forefront of innovation on urban ecological infrastructure. Susannah’s large-scale planning work engages diverse systems to create ecologically and socially progressive projects that are equally well-crafted and beautiful.

Inclusion in Design, PennDesign Student Group Lunch Discussion (February 26, 2019)
PennDesign's Inclusion in Design student group hosts an informal lunch discussion and PechaKucha lunch with students in the PennDesign community. Inclusion in Design intends to foster an environment in which students of color, marginalized identities, and allies can thrive at PennDesign. (Marginalized identities include: racial, ethnic, sexual minorities, disabled students, international students etc.) Please e-mail inclusionindesign@gmail.com for any inquiries. 

Fine Arts Lecture: Troy Michie  (Feburary 28, 2019)
Troy Michie is an interdisciplinary artist based in New York City. The nature of his work is in dialogue with the political discourse of collage as a medium, often subverting a dominant narrative by placing signs from the past in confrontation with the present. 

Change Over Time Dialogues: Gentrification and Heritage Conservation (March 12, 2019)
This discussion will address the challenges of balancing preservation and equity in rapidly regenerating historic environments and will reflect on how these tensions have re-ignited debates about the scope of the profession and the mission of its civic promise.

Tamika Butler Lecture: Beyond Complete Streets (Monday March 18, 2019)
Tamika Butler, Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, will speak on "Beyond Complete Streets". Tamika serves as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a non-profit organization that addresses social and racial equity, and wellness, by building parks and gardens in park-poor communities across greater Los Angeles.

Exhbition: Black Urbanism:YR-001  (February 7 - April 8, 2019)
Meyerson Hall, Lobby Mezzanine
This exhibition brings together recent photographs by Matthew J. Miller, PhD, and Gabriel Miller. Matthew J. Miller, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of City and Regional Planning at PennDesign who relocated to Philadelphia from Los Angeles in the fall of 2018. This spring he is teaching Place, Taste, and Neighborhood Change: Frameworks for Integrating Aesthetics, Equity and Creativity. Gabriel Miller is an artist based in the Bay Area. 

Nancy Levinson: Design and the Public Scholar (Tuesday March 19, 2019)

Fine Arts Lecture: Sable Elyse Smith (March 14, 2019)
Sable Elyse Smith is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator based in New York & Richmond Virginia. Her work has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Ps1, New Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, SIGNAL Gallery, Rachel Uffner Gallery, and Recess Assembly, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Artist Television Access, San Francisco, CA; Birkbeck Cinema in collaboration with the Serpentine Galleries, London. Her writing has been published in Radical Teacher, Studio Magazine and Affidavit.

Architecture Lecture: Elizabth Diller (Monday, March 18, 2019) 
Elizabeth Diller is a founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) and Professor of Architecture at Princeton University. Liz’s cross-genre work has been distinguished with Time Magazine’s "100 Most Influential People" list, and the first MacArthur Foundation fellowship awarded in the field of architecture. Liz is currently leading two cultural works significant to New York: The Shed—the first multi-arts center designed to commission, produce, and present all types of performing arts, visual arts, and popular culture - and the expansion of the Museum of Modern Art (both opening 2019). She also created, directed and produced The Mile-Long Opera, an immersive choral work staged on the High Line this October.

Monuments and Memorials (Tuesday, March 26, 2019)
Panelists from a variety of backgrounds gather to discuss the conversations currently happening around public monuments and art. Monument Lab's Ken Lum and Paul Farber join Associate Professor of Historic Preservation Randall F. Mason and J.M. Kaplan Fund Executive Director Amy L. Freitag for the talk. Cities around the U.S. are grappling with controversies related to public art, historical monuments, and other memorials. The panelists for this event will discuss ways that curators, artists, historians, and preservationists have responded to these waves of controversy with new approaches to building equity and collectivity in public spaces. They will discuss recent projects related to the topic in several cities, including Philadelphia, New York, and Birmingham, as well as historical notions of permanence attached to memorial sites.

Fine Arts Lecture: Fred Moten (March 28, 2019)
Fred Moten teaches in the Department of Performance Studies at New York University. His most recent books are consent not to be a single being (Duke University Press, 2017/2018) and, with Stefano Harney, ofAll Incomplete (Minor Compositions, 2019). In 2018, Moten received the Roy Lichtenstein Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts and was named a United States Artists Fellow.

Architecture KPF Lecture: Farshid Moussavi "Architecture and Micropolitics" (Wednesday April 3, 2019)
Farshid Mousavvi an architect, founder of Farshid Moussavi Architecture (FMA) and Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. She has published The Function of Ornament in 2006, The Function of Form in 2009, and her third book titled The Function of Style in 2015, based on her research and teaching. Moussavi was elected a Royal Academician in 2015, and subsequently, Professor of Architecture at the RA Schools in 2017. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours for Services to Architecture.

Can We Create Communities for All? Women in Planning (Thursday, April 11, 2019)
A conversation on the role of gender in housing, community, and economic development.  An intimate evening discussion with Leslie Smallwood-Lewis and Nancy Biberman, moderated by Lisa Servon, chair of the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design. Refreshments will be provided.Thursday, April 11th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm Upper Gallery, Meyerson Hall. This event is cosponsored by Inclusion By Design group, the PennDesign Social Justice Club, and the Community Impact Fund.

Marybeth Gasman, Professor (GSE) and Director of Penn Center for Minority-Serving Institutions presenting to the PennDesign Faculty Meeting 
Marybeth Gasman is the Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Her areas of expertise include the history of American higher education, Minority Serving Institutions (with an emphasis on Historically Black Colleges and Universities), racism and diversity, fundraising and philanthropy, and higher education leadership. Marybeth is the founding director of the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs), which works to amplify the contributions, strengthen, and support MSIs and those scholars interested in them. She holds secondary appointments in history, Africana Studies, and the School of Social Policy and Practice. Marybeth is the author or editor of 23 books, including Educating a Diverse Nation (Harvard University Press, 2015 with Clif Conrad), Envisioning Black Colleges (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007), and Academics Going Public (Routledge Press, 2016).

Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon Series at Fisher Fine Arts Library (April 2019) Join a three-part edit-a-thon series on the three consecutive Fridays in the Fisher Fine Arts Library. Each edit-a-thon will focus on illuminating the art and artists from African American communities and the African Diaspora; Latin America; and cis and transgender women and non-binary folks respectively. During the month of April, participate in a series of three edit-a-thons to improve the coverage of marginalized artists and cultures and combat racial and gender bias on Wikipedia. Less than 10% of Wikipedia editors identify as women. Less information is known on the racial demographics of its editors. As Wikipedia remains the most popular general reference tool on the internet, this glaring omission of marginalized groups silences their voices, narratives, and histories. 

Minority/Underrepresented Professionals in City Planning Discussion (April 17, 2019)
Kleinman Center Forum, Fisher Fine Arts Library. Join our guests as they talk about their college experience at Penn and share their career accomplishments and challenges. Confirmed panelists: Tanya Stern (MCP’02), Deputy Planning Director, Montgomery County Planning Department; Meishka Mitchell (MCP’05), Vice President of Community Initiative, Blane Stoddard (W’87), President and CEO of BFW Group; Jamie Gauthier (MCP’04), running for city council, former executive director of the Fairmount Park Conservancy; Tya Winn (MArch’10), Director of Project Planning, Habitat for Humanity.

The Cunningham Lecture in Architecture: Jha D Williams    (April 17, 2019)
Jha D Williams is a Senior Associate of MASS Design Group and an alum of PennDesign. As a spoken word artist and event organizer, Jha D exclaims that there is pure art is speaking your own truth, and is dedicated to creating spaces for artists, particularly those that are of the LGTBQIA communities of color. As a designer, she urges that design and the built environment are vehicles for equity, justice and social change. In February of 2018, she joined MASS as a Senior Associate.


Fall 2018

Designing the Political Landscape: Activism and Urbanism in the Trump Era (August 30, 2018)
Though the Architecture Lobby and Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility have issued forceful statements in opposition to these acts, the design community has otherwise remained conspicuously quiet on issues that are fundamental to the present and future of our professions. The challenges posed not only by this Administration, but by the simmering threat of climate change, demand more. In light of this, The Ian L. McHarg Center for Urbanism and Ecology at PennDesign welcomes May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, in conversation with Councilwoman Helen Gym (City of Philadelphia), Mark Gardner (J/GA and The New School), Barbara Brown-Wilson (UVA), and Billy Fleming (McHarg) for its fall public forum: “Designing the Political Landscape: Activism, Urbanism, and Design in the Trump Era.” As one of the few women figureheads in the U.S. environmental movement, Boeve was recently dubbed 'the new face of the climate movement' by The Guardian.

Erica Kohl-Arenas - Radical Politics Off the (Non-Profit Industrial Complex) Grid (Sept 25, 2018) 
Dr. Kohl-Arenas will speak on "From Self-Help to Self-Determination: Radical Politics Off the (Non-Profit Industrial Complex) Grid."

Social Justice: Civil Conversations---Sidling Up to Difference (Sept 18, 2018)
PennDesign Social Justice group and Professor Lisa Servon will host a series of "civil conversations" on a range of topics chosen to inspire reflection and dialogue. The first will be on Tuesday, September 18 at noon in Meyerson (room TBD). Discussion will center around talking about "difference," using an interview between Krista Tippett and Kwame Anthony Appiah as the fodder for our conversation. You can find the interview here: http://www.civilconversationsproject.org/conversations/#/kwame-anthony-appiah-on-sidling-up-to-difference-social-change-and-moral-revolutions/  

PennDesign Students of Color Breakfast (Sept 21, 2018)
The Diversity Committee presents an opportunity for students of color to share thoughts with the Dean, meet each other, and talk about about ways to make the experience at PennDesign as good as it can be. We ask students to RSVP to tufarolo@design.upenn.edu.

Learning from LGBTQ Places: Thoughts on Heritage and Preservation (Sept 25, 2018)
Donna Graves will discuss her recent work on LGBTQ historic sites and current efforts to recognize and protect historic places and intangible heritage in the face of the economic tsunami reshaping San Francisco. This event is co-sponsored by the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women.

Mabel O. Wilson: Memory/Race/Nation - The Politics of Modern Memorials (Sept 26, 2018)
The recent fiery debates and now deadly protests sparked by the removals of Confederate war monuments around the United States raises import questions about the racialized origins of American democracy and as a consequence whether public representations can ever truly represent foundational ideals liberty, equality and justice for all. Professor Mabel O. Wilson’s talk will explore the blueprint for the biopolitics of the U.S. social order, one where white citizens, idealized in the bronze figures of soldiers, politicians and muses, have thrived at the expense of the lives and labor of black and brown bodies. Mabel O. Wilson is a Professor of Architecture, a co-director of Global Africa Lab and the Associate Director at the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University. She has authored Begin with the Past: Building the National Museum of African American History and Culture (2016) and Negro Building: African Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (2012). She is a member of the design team for the Memorial to Enslaved African American Laborers at the University of Virginia. 

Gary Wozniak: Recovery Park and Recovery Park Farm (Oct 11, 2018)
Gary Wozniak, President and CEO of RecoveryPark, will deliver a lecture "Recovery Park and Recovery Park Farm - a Motown example of how to create economic growth and to help former prisoners re-enter their communities." 

Women in Planning Panel (Oct 18, 2018)
Join a discussion about the importance of women in city & regional planning. Panelists will talk about their career path in this field and share any challenges or specific issues they’ve encountered. As acknowledged by the American Planning Association (APA), we need to address issues facing the planning and development of communities, cities, regions, states, and the nation related to the changing roles of women and men as a means of promoting social equity.

PennDesign Admissions at the NOMA Graduate School Fair in Chicago, IL (Oct 19, 2018)
The National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) is holding a Graduate School Fair as a part of its annual international conference and exposition. PennDesign will be there to answer questions about our programs, the admissions process, and financial aid. 

PennDesign students are invited to the Penn Queer Grads of Color Dinner & Social (Oct 26, 2018)
Held at the Graduate Student Center from 6 to 8 pm. Food and drinks are provided. http://www.gsc.upenn.edu/    

PennDesign Admissions at the California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education (Oct 27, 2018)
San Diego, CA
PennDesign is delighted to attend the recruitment fair and we are looking forward to sharing information about our graduate programs.This consortium of public and private colleges and universities is designed particularly to meet the needs of advanced undergraduates and master's candidates who belong to groups that are currently underrepresented in doctoral-level programs.

Thursday November 1, 2018, in Upper Gallery
This event will feature both elective options and student groups focusing on diversity, social impact, and interdisciplinary study.  Students and faculty will present interdisciplinary elective highlights in a very short engaging way, student groups will showcase diverse activities, and we will have information tables available at a brief reception to discuss resources and opportunities.  Presented by the Diversity Committee, with snacks provided.

Portraits of Justice (Nov 2, 2018)
Portraits of Justice is a day-long symposium that will engage the public in reimagining the criminal justice system through the lens of art, advocacy, and policy reform.  A diverse and robust roster of directly impacted artists, practitioners, government officials and scholars will engage in a series of discussions to reflect upon local reform efforts, as well as engage with the national dialogue that highlights strategic arts-based approaches to criminal justice reform. Portraits of Justice is produced by Mural Arts Philadelphia in collaboration with Nicole Fleetwood, Associate Professor of American Studies, Rutgers University. The event is sponsored by the Art for Justice Fund, a recently launched initiative founded by Agnes Gund in collaboration with the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The project is in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s MacArthur Foundation-supported Safety and Justice Challenge initiative; the City of Philadelphia’s Criminal Justice Partners; the Department of Fine Arts at PennDesign; and the School of Social Policy and Practice at Penn. Speakers include: Mayor Jim Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner. Reginald Dwayne Betts (poet, lawyer, current Guggenheim Fellow), Bill Cobb (ACLU),  Jesse Krimes (Philly-Based artisst), Ndume Olatushani (artist), and Keynote Speaker Albert Woodfox, of the Angola Three,  who spent 43 years in solitary confinement, which is the longest period of solitary confinement in American history. 

Inclusion in Design, Student Group, Guest Lecture by John Puckett (November 13, 2018)
Inclusion in Design is a new student-led forum for continuing conversations centered around diversity and inclusion for any PennDesign student that self-identifies as a person of color, though all PennDesign student allies are welcome to join. The first event will be held on Tuesday, November 13, from 12 PM to 1 PM with a discussion around our role as Penn students within the surrounding community, featuring John Puckett from the Netter Center for Community Partnerships.

Artist Talk - Devin Kenny (Nov 29, 2018) 
The fine arts department hosts Devin Kenny, an artist and writer based in New York. Working in sculpture, video, photography, text, performance, sound, as well as curatorial projects, Devin Kenny’s practice is engaged with questions of socially constructed identity and network aesthetics from quilt codes used on the underground railroad, to graffiti, to contemporary internet memes.


Professional Resources

The following professional resources may be useful for those who want to connect with organizations serving the architectural, urban planning, design, landscape architecure, fine arts or preservation professions. Additional links can be submitted to tufarolo@design.upenn.edu.                                                             

African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund is a funding initiative aimed at protecting and restoring African American historic sites and uncovering hidden stories of African Americans connected to historic sites across the nation.

American Institute of Architects (AIA) advocates for the value of architecture and to give architects the resources they need to do their best work.

American Institute of Architects (AIA) Center for Civic Leadership 

American Institute for Architects (AIA) Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

American Planning Association (APA) is a professional organization representing the field of urban planning in the United States.

APA Planning and the Black Community Division (PBCD) of the American Planning Association provides a forum for planners, administrators, public officials, students, and other interested individuals to address issues of significance to the black community.

American Institute for Conservation Architecture Specialty Group (ASG) develops and promotes the conservation of immovable cultural property such as buildings, monuments, outdoor sculpture, and related heritage sites.

American Society of Lansdscape Architects (ASLA) advances landscape architecture through advocacy, communication, education, and fellowship. Sustainability has been part of the mission since its founding and is an overarching value that informs the programs and operations.

American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Diversity Summit  brings together a group of experienced and emerging landscape architects who identify as African American or Latinx to develop strategies that address diversity issues in the field.

Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility works for peace, environmental protection, ecological building, social justice, and the development of healthy communities.

Association of Architecture Organizations conducts public programs that serve nonprofit architectural organizations and interested individuals.

College Art Association of America (CAA) promotes the visual arts and their understanding through advocacy, intellectual engagement, and a commitment to the diversity of practices and practitioners.

College Art Association of America (CAA) Committee on Diversity Practices promotes artistic, curatorial, scholarly, and institutional practices that deepen appreciation of political and cultural heterogeneity as educational and professional values. 

National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) exists to champion diversity within the design professions by promoting the excellence, community engagement, and professional development of its members.

National Organization of Minority Architects - Philadelphia Chapter (PHILANOMA) advances the cause, promotes the development, and addresses concerns of minority design professionals.

National Trust for Historic Preservation  protects significant places representing our diverse cultural experience by taking direct action and inspiring broad public support.

National Urban League strives to enable African American and other underserved urban residents to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights.

Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) is a nonprofit membership organization that promotes the study, interpretation, and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes, and urbanism worldwide.

Postdoctoral Fellowships for Academic Diversity

PennDesign is pleased to work with the Provost's Office in support of the Penn Postdoctoral Fellowships for Academic Diversity Program. This is a competitive program whose goal is to increase the diversity of the community of scholars devoted to academic research at the University of Pennsylvania. We seek to attract promising researchers and educators from different backgrounds, races, ethnic groups, and other diverse populations whose life experience, research experience and employment background will contribute significantly to their academic missions. We are pleased to currently host Akira Drake Rodriguez and Matt Miller as our Post-Doctoral Fellows in the Department of City and Regional Planning for a three-year term.

AY 2017 Recommendation Report

Shortly after his appointment in the summer of 2016, Dean Steiner formed a Faculty Diversity Work Group (DWG) to advise him on strategies to (1) increase the diversity of the School’s faculty, staff, and student body; (2) promote a more inclusive community; (3) and foster a learning environment that encourages and celebrates difference. The DWG invited staff and student representatives to join the group and met monthly throughout the 2016-17 academic year. Chaired by Sharon Hayes, Associate Professor of Fine Arts, the Work Group included faculty members from across the School, staff members, as well as student representatives from DiverseDesign and PennDesign Student Council. The DWG served as a productive forum for conversations. This group led a Diversity town hall for students and coordinated a school-wide, engaging faculty discussion on inclusive teaching practices for our studio and classroom environments. In June 2017, the DWG presented the Dean with a detailed report on recommendations for continuing these efforts.

Archive of Past Diversity Events

Below are events from the past:

Spring 2018

Manuel Pastor: Conversation with Dean Frederick Steiner on Social and Environmental Justice
(Jan 22, 2018)
The Department of City and Regional Planning welcomes Manuel Pastor, Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity, University of South California, for a conversation with Dean and Paley Professor Frederick Steiner.

Sierra Bainbridge, MASS Design Group Work and Ideas (Jan 30, 2018)
PennPraxis hosts Sierra Bainbridge, principal at MASS Group, with a presentation of WORK AND IDEAS. MASS Group is an international leader in the practice of social impact architecture and landscape architecture for community development and health. MASS has earned the Cooper Hewitt National Design Award (2017) and many other accolades, and created a diverse and pioneering body of work for contexts and peoples that don’t usually get the benefit of design.

Francine Houben: People, Place, Purpose (Feb 5, 2018)
Francine Houben is the founder / CEO of Mecanoo architecten. Her work ranges from theatres, museums, and libraries to neighborhoods, housing, and parks. As curator of the First International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam in 2003, she brought the theme of the aesthetics of mobility to the forefront of international design consciousness. She holds Honorary Doctorates from Utrecht University and Université de Mons. Francine has gained international acclaim for her works. Queen Máxima of the Netherlands presented her the prestigious Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds for her entire oeuvre in 2015.

PennDesign Student Town Hall on Diversity (Feb 23, 2018)
The Diversity Committee presents an opportunity for students to meet for lunch and share thoughts and concerns with faculty and staff in an informal forum on Friday February 23 at 12 noon in the Upper Gallery. This is an open & casual pizza lunch providing an opportunity for any PennDesign student to talk about their experiences and provide input on ways to make progress towards a more inclusive community that celebrates equality and multiple voices. We ask students to RSVP to tufarolo@design.upenn.edu.

Immigration Past, Present, Future: A Discussion with Domenic Vitiello  (Feb 28, 2018)
PennDesign Associate Professor of City Planning and Urban Studies Domenic Vitiello presents to the Penn Professional Staff Assembly. Professor Vitiello is a former member of AFRICOM, served on the board of ACANA and as board chair of JUNTOS, and worked with many other immigrant and refugee community organizations in Philadelphia. He is currently writing a book titled The Sanctuary City that examines Central American, Southeast Asian, African, Arab, and Mexican immigration to Philadelphia since the 1970s.

ICA Artist Talk: Cameron Rowland (Mar 1, 2018)
Philadelphia-born artist Cameron Rowland considers a multilayered genealogical investigation into slavery and its ties to economic development and mass incarceration in the United States. In this uniquely American direction in his work, he manifests the invisible economy that has exploited prison labor since the 1865 passage of 13th Amendment, which outlawed slavery but legalized involuntary servitude as criminal punishment. Rowland describes how the origins of present-day inmate labor are entangled with efforts to effectively re-enslave African-Americans. Learn more about his process and explorations.

Edwin Melendez Talk: Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria (Mar 12, 2018)
The Department of City and Regional Planning presents Edwin Meléndez, Professor of Urban Affairs and Planning at Hunter College. He was appointed as the Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies in 2008. An economist by training, he has conducted considerable research in the areas of Puerto Rican and Latino studies, economic development, labor markets, and poverty. Professor Melendez has an extensive record of community and public service, including numerous appointments to government and community boards, and has worked as a consultant to numerous government, community, and philanthropic foundations. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Education, 2011, from the New York League of Puerto Rican Women, the 2010 Educational Leadership Honoree award from the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, New York, and El Diario El Awards 2009, New York.​

Beyond Mobility Urban Book Talk (Mar 14, 2018)
Penn IUR and the PennDesign Department of City and Regional Planning celebrate the launch of "Beyond Mobility: Planning Cities for People and Places" by Penn IUR Faculty Fellows Erick Guerra, Assistant Professor in City and Regional Planning School of Design, Stefan Al, Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning, School of Design, and Penn IUR Scholar Robert Cevero, Professor, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of California-Berkeley. Beyond Mobility is about prioritizing the needs and aspirations of people and the creation of great places. This is as important, if not more important, than expediting movement. A stronger focus on accessibility and place creates better communities, environments, and economies. Rethinking how projects are planned and designed in cities and suburbs needs to occur at multiple geographic scales, from micro-designs (such as parklets), corridors (such as road-diets), and city-regions (such as an urban growth boundary). It can involve both software (a shift in policy) and hardware (a physical transformation). Moving beyond mobility must also be socially inclusive, a significant challenge in light of the price increases that typically result from creating higher quality urban spaces. There are many examples of communities across the globe working to create a seamless fit between transit and surrounding land uses, retrofit car-oriented suburbs, reclaim surplus or dangerous roadways for other activities, and revitalize neglected urban spaces like abandoned railways in urban centers. The authors draw on experiences and data from a range of cities and countries around the globe in making the case for moving beyond mobility. Throughout the book, they provide an optimistic outlook about the potential to transform places for the better. Beyond Mobility celebrates the growing demand for a shift in global thinking around place and mobility in creating better communities, environments, and economies.

[RE]ACTION: Empowering the Future Leaders in Design (Mar 20, 2018)
Presented by PennDesign Women in Architecture (PIWA)
[RE]Action is a full day of workshops empowering the future leaders in design. Organized by PennDesign Women in Architecture (PWIA), this event presents opportunities for attendees to acquire a toolset to take charge of their careers and set themselves up for success. Workshop topics will include Negotiation, Networking, Knowing Your Rights, Navigating Construction Sites, and Assertive Communication. PWIA is committed to equity in design and welcomes all to join the conversation.

Fisher Fine Arts Library: Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon (Mar 23, 2018)
Wikipedia experts will be on hand in the Davis Seminar room to help students edit Wikipedia entries of artists and designers of diverse gender identities. Everyone is welcome, regardless of experience. So if you want to learn how to edit or already know how and want to sit down with some resources, please come by. It's a great opportunity to learn where your online information comes from and how you can make it better.  For more on the Art+Feminism initiative, see http://www.artandfeminism.org/get-involved/.  For more on the Wikipedia gender disparity and the history of edit-a-thons, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_bias_on_Wikipedia.

Tuesday March 27, 2018 at 6 pm in Upper Gallery
This event will feature both fall elective options and student groups focusing on diversity, social impact, and interdisciplinary study.  Students will present interdisciplinary elective highlights in a very short engaging way, student groups will showcase diverse activities, and we will have information available at a brief reception to discuss resources and opportunities.  Presented by the Diversity Committee, with snacks provided. Presentations include QueerDesign, Women in Architecture, and the Urban China Collective and highlighted courses such as Social Impact in Practice; the Politics of Housing & Community Development; Cultural Landscapes & Landscape Preservation; and Topics in Representation.

Conversation about welcoming LGBQT students into our community 
Tuessay April 3, 2018, 12 – 1:30 pm, in Upper Gallery
Talk with students, faculty, and staff
This discussion/workshop will be led by Davy Knittles from the Center for Teaching and Learning, along with PennDesign faculty, student & staff representatives, to better consider and support LGBQT concerns and gender inclusivity within our educational community. Learn about ways to recognize members of our community and understand their experiences in the classroom setting.  Lunch provided.
RSVP to tufarolo@design.upenn.edu.

Symposium: Structural Instability (Apr 5 + 6, 2018)
Structural Instability: History, Environment, and Risk in Architecture
This symposium will explore how the structural instabilities of the 21st century are legible in histories of architecture and related spatio-political disciplines, insofar as they engage questions of economy, gender, race, and environmental change.

Faculty Chat regarding Diversifying Course Content
Thursday April 5, 2018 at 12 noon 
For faculty members who asked for a more informal opportunity to continue discussions and make connections about re-thinking diversity within their own courses, Professor Lisa Servon will facilitate a casual faculty talk to share ideas & resources and identify ways to support one another in these efforts. Please continue the discussions from faculty meetings across departments into your content areas.  Faculty should RSVP to tufarolo@design.upenn.edu as space will be limited.

Penn IUR hosts The Fair Housing Act at 50: Scholars Gather for Symposium (April 11, 2018)
In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, PennDesign Assistant Professor of City and Regional Vincent Reina co-hosted a symposium on the ongoing implementation of the landmark civil rights law. The event convened a range of scholars and housing experts in the public and private sectors for discussions on the historical roots of the Act, its past successes and failures, and future opportunities in fair housing. Each session was framed by "conversation starters" and punctuated by "breakout discussions," in which small groups of attendees discussed and debated focused questions before convening as a whole. The format promoted interdisciplinary discourse across social, political, and institutional boundaries, and the event's diverse participants were visibly energized with a call for action and collaboration to enhance and advance the ideals of fair housing today and in the future. PennIUR is publishing a special issue of Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research entitled “Race and Policy: 50 Years after the Fair Housing Act,” edited by Reina and Susan Wachter. https://www.design.upenn.edu/news/post/scholars-gather-fair-housing-symposium

Mario Romañach and Latin America Modernism (April 16, 2018)
The Office of the Dean hosts a panel discussion on Mario Romañach (1917-1984), influential PennDesign architecture professor, and how he fits into Latin American modernism.

Fall 2017

Domenic Vitiello: The Sanctuary City (Sept 7, 2017)
Domenic Vitiello, Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning, discusses the sanctuary movements of the 1980s and today at the Barnes Foundation.

'A Worker’s Lunch Box’ Film Screening and Panel Discussion (Sept 13, 2017)
A Worker's Lunch Box is a research project and film installation exploring the role of the urban factory worker and the production of things. The installation is part of an on-going project by curator and urbanist Nina Rappaport, author of Vertical Urban Factory (Actar 2016).  According to the Slought website: “This provides an indelible backdrop for understanding the significance of factory life and factory workers during a period of manufacturing decline, while also showing a potential for its increase. The installation features a series of 18 filmed interviews with factory workers exploring the importance of work, the worker's role in the factory, the value of work to the worker, and the meaning of urban production. By focusing attention on the individual factory employee, these personal narratives demonstrate firsthand the importance of urban production spaces and their social significance.”

Design Manifestos! What does community engaged design mean to you? (Sept 14, 2017)
Presented by PennPraxis, this interactive discussion is led by fellow PennDesign students sharing experiences and aspirations for creating the next generation of community engaged designers. Hear from current students and alumni who have experience doing community engaged design work and engage in discussions on topics including: Power + Privilege + Positionality, Radical Inclusion, and Designing for Justice.

Monument Lab: Monumental Project Rethinks Public Art in Philadelphia (Sept 16 - Nov 19, 2017)
September 16 – November 19 – ongoing public art exhibition, with multiple public events
Co-curated by Fine Arts Professor Ken Lum, Monument Lab is a public art and history project produced with Mural Arts Philadelphia. Monument Lab invites visitors to join a citywide conversation about history, memory, and our collective future. Monument Lab operates around a central guiding question: What is an appropriate monument for the current city of Philadelphia? This line of inquiry is aimed at building civic dialogue and stoking historical imagination as forces for social change.

Philadelphia is a city full of monuments and memorials. Philadelphia is also a city full of monumental histories, many of which are little known, obscured, or simply unacknowledged. These underrepresented histories often exist in tension with officially acknowledged narratives. The projects that make up Monument Lab address issues of social justice and solidarity, including matters of race, gender, sexuality, class, and national belonging. Drawing on meaningful modes of social engagement through creative response, the project is an invitation to not only answer a shared question but to explore, excavate, and reflect multiple forms of historical knowledge. Rather than asking for only the feasible or practical, Monument Lab seeks ideas that speak to the evolving core values and visions of the city.

Main Streets Now: Preservation-Based Community Revitalization in the New Economy (Sept 19, 2017)
The Graduate Program in Historic Preservation is pleased to welcome Patrice Frey, President and CEO of National Main Street Center, Inc.  Patrice Frey is President and CEO of the National Main Street Center, where she oversees the Center’s work, offering technical assistance, research, advocacy, and education and training opportunities for Main Street’s network of approximately 1,100 communities. Based in Chicago, Illinois, the National Main Street Center is a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and has participated in the renewal of more than 2,000 older commercial districts during its 30-year history.

A Conversation with Mindy Fullilove (Oct 11, 2017)
Mindy is a board-certified psychiatrist who explores the ties between environment and mental health. Dedicated to the psychology of place, Mindy’s research started in 1986 when she linked the AIDS epidemic with place of residence and she continues to focus on the health problems caused by inequality.  For the past 30 years, Mindy has been investigating how broken connections between different sections of cities harm public health and explores ways to reconnect them. She has published numerous articles and six books including "Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America's Sorted-Out Cities," "Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It," and "House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place."

Admissions Event: NOMA Graduate School Fair Houston, TX (Oct 13, 2017)
PennDesign will be represented at the Graduate School Fair at the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) annual international conference and exposition.

Between Rural and Urban Communities: New Models for Community-Engaged Design, Art, and Economic Development in Rural New York State (Oct 16, 2017)
This is PennPraxis’ first in a series of dialogues between rural and urban communities. The projects and ideas of this panel intersect strongly with the work of the five departments at PennDesign—Fine Arts, Landscape Architecture, Historic Preservation, City & Regional Planning, and Architecture—to promote interdisciplinary conversation and input for the panelists. Over the last year, we have become increasingly aware of the lack of dialogue and understanding between city people and rural people in the United States and well beyond, and what this means for our politics, natural resources, climate and culture. Jeff Barnett-Winsby and Bowie Zunino, artists and founders of the Wassaic Project, and Scott Anderson, entrepreneur and strategist in Wassaic Community Development Partners, will share their 11 years of art, invention, community-building, saving heritage structures, chairing the local zoning board, and running both the local fire department and the community bar and restaurant.

Sharon Sutton: When Ivory Towers Were Black (Lessons in Re-Imagining Universities and Communities) (Nov 2, 2017)
Dr. Sharon Egretta Sutton, FAIA is an activist educator and scholar who promotes inclusivity in the cultural makeup of the city-making professions and in the populations they serve, and also advocates the use of participatory planning and design strategies in low-income and minority communities. Sutton discusses her most recent book, When Ivory Towers were Black: A Story about Race in America's Cities and Universities.  She shares how she and an unparalleled cohort of ethnic minority students got free Ivy League educations during the late 1960s and early1970s, when the Black Power Movement was at its zenith. Sutton felt compelled to write the book by the persistent whiteness of schools in today’s universities, especially in fields like architecture and planning. In her lecture, Dr. Sutton describes the institutional context of this student-led transformation and tells how it quickly unraveled as white lash against black progress grew, just as is occurring today.  After revealing both the immediate and long-term outcomes of what she refers to as Columbia’s “arc of insurgency,” Sutton ends by issuing a call to PennDesign students to re-imagine a learning environment that would attract and support a diverse student body at their own institution.

Admissions Event: California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education Camarillo, CA (Nov 4, 2017)
PennDesign is delighted to attend the recruitment fair at the California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education.  This consortium of public and private colleges and universities from throughout California, is designed particularly to meet the needs of advanced undergraduates and master's candidates who belong to groups that are currently underrepresented in doctoral-level programs.

Spring Preview: Electives + Student Groups (Nov 7, 2017)
Focus on Diversity, Social Impact, + Interdisciplinary Options

Presented by the Diversity Committee, the PennDesign Spring Preview on Tuesday, November 7, 5:30 – 7:00, in the Meyerson Upper Gallery, features both spring elective options and student groups focusing on diversity, social impact, and interdisciplinary study.  Faculty members present interdisciplinary elective highlights in engaging ways, student groups showcase diverse activities, followed by a brief reception to discuss resources and opportunities for all PennDesign students. Courses presented include: Art & Resistance; Topics in Theory & Design: Means of Influence: China, Africa and the Instrumentality of Speculative Urbanization; Interpretation in the Future Tense; Detroiter’s Spatial Imagination: Architectural Translations of Grassroots Networks; and Art & Social Work: Art & the Ecology of Justice.

City Planning Poetics 4: Urban Memory (Nov 13, 2017)
At Kelly Writers House
Simone White with Randall Mason, Associate Professor and Chair, Historic Preservation

The Kelly Writers House’s City Planning Poetics series, hosted by Davy Knittle, brings together in conversation a poet and someone involved in urban studies/city planning to tease out the relationship between these two fields. This conversation will focus on the issue of urban memory, the collective memory created by individuals and institutions in the city itself and its social environment. Simone White is the author of Dear Angel of Death (Ugly Duckling Presse), Of Being Dispersed, and House of Envy of All the World, the poetry chapbook, Unrest, and the collaborative poem/painting chapbook, Dolly, with Kim Thomas. Randall Mason is Associate Professor of City & Regional Planning and Chair of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation. His published work includes: The Once and Future New York, on the origins of historic preservation in New York City (University of Minnesota Press, 2009, winner of the Society of Architectural Historians' Antoinette Forester Downing Award), and North Brother Island: The Last Unknown Place in New York City (with photographer Christopher Payne, Fordham University Press, 2014). Mason's professional practice includes projects at many scales, addressing planning, preservation and public space issues, commissioned by organizations including the Brookings Institution, Getty Conservation Institute, William Penn Foundation, the City of Philadelphia, and the National Park Service.


Dean Steiner sent the following message to the PennDesign community on Monday, March 20, 2017.

Dear PennDesign Community,

Immigration policy affects all of us, and because the stakes are so high, many of us have felt compelled to affirm our commitment to diversity and inclusion publicly. One forum for doing this is the grassroots social media campaign #YouAreWelcomeHere. The campaign has been championed by schools and other organizations across the country as both a pledge to international students considering study in the U.S. and an affirmation of current students’ invaluable contribution to our communities.

I invite you to add your voice to the campaign and send a message of inclusion. PennDesign’s communications staff are distributing #YouAreWelcomeHere signs throughout Meyerson, Morgan, and Addams over the coming days for everyone’s use. PennDesign will also have signs and a photographer at Happy Hour on Friday, March 24, and the Faculty Meeting on Wednesday, April 19. As President Gutmann wrote last month, “It has never been more vital for us to come together, as one community, to find strength in our diversity.”

Fritz Steiner